In his guest column, printed March 6, Rand Stowell of Weld addressed his concerns about the Saddleback Ridge Wind project in Carthage. The column dismissed the positive effects that wind power has on the local, state and national level, and exaggerated negative effects.
For example, when discussing project benefits, Stowell failed to mention that $48,000 will be put into the Carthage community benefit fund each year. And that the project (estimated at $65 million, $58 million of which is in Carthage) will increase the tax base by 180 percent. And that it will produce an estimated 101,000 MWh of clean electricity each year, enough to power approximately 16,000 average homes, which is hardly insignificant.
The author dismissed the importance of jobs created by wind power, which include engineering, environmental and construction jobs. The University of Southern Maine recently announced the results of a study concluding that, since 2003, major wind projects created an average of 240 jobs per year and also resulted in $223 million in spending for local goods and services in the state of Maine.
Finally, the author argues that wind does not provide a way to “get us off oil” but does not suggest an alternative solution. He stresses that wind accounts for a mere 2 percent of total electricity generation in the U.S., but overlooks wind power’s 25-30 percent annual growth rate and that it accounts for more than 40 percent of all new generation in the United States.
Tom Carroll, Community Outreach Coordinator
Patriot Renewables, LLC, Quincy, Mass.